The Ultimate Guide To Multilingual WordPress Sites

2020 has been an interesting year so far, to say the least. Overlooked in all of the chaos and confusion, was the diminishing role of English as the lingua franca of the internet.

While English is not by any means dead or even dying, it has become increasingly important to expand beyond English online. In this article, we will examine the best ways to build and maintain a multilingual WordPress website and show you just how much it will benefit your online efforts.

An Introduction to Translation, Localization and the Need to Go Multilingual

We will explore how to use translation and localization in order to expand your online marketing and build international operations online with less direct (and even indirect) competition. This is true no matter what niche you are in or what kinds of products and services you are marketing.

WordPress is by far the most popular CMS or content management system on the internet today. There are additionally a great many translation plugins and other options to allow more instant access in foreign languages, but virtually all of these are lacking, as will be demonstrated here.

It is more viable to focus on your ability to ensure that the translations you use for your multilingual marketing online are quality translations. You will first want to find a translation company that offers localization services in addition to guaranteed, professional translations.

How to Use Translation Services to Create an International Marketing Strategy

You will discover a large volume of data within this article regarding the importance of multilingual marketing online. Multilingual marketing will serve to improve your visibility and profits. The data included here can be compiled so that you can learn how to get your international business marketing strategy right the first time. You need to learn to use translation and localization services to expand your international business marketing. This should allow you to successfully win over larger, international markets online. There is one primary use for translation services and creating an international marketing strategy. That is to learn which are the largest potential markets with the lowest amount of competition and appease that audience.

Using Translation to Reduce Online Competition and Increase Visibility

As was noted in the statistics compiled from the W3, there are only 12 languages in use on the internet which comprise more than one percent of all of the content online. In short, use translation services to move beyond any of these languages and you are now effectively competing with less than one percent of all of the content on the internet.

Multilingual WordPress Sites

It should be much easier to rank on the front pages of the search engine results page when more than 99% of all the content online is removed from the equation. Moreover, using a complete website translation also gives these foreign language visitors substantially more options when they do come to your website.

Now it may be easy to imagine that moving away from English is going to totally destroy an entire market online, but first, nobody is suggesting not using an English language website. Second, the website translation can still put your website out in front of literally tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of online viewers who are largely under-represented at the present time.

Multilingual WordPress Sites

There are approximately 85 languages with more than ten million native speakers. There are 24 languages with more than 50 million native speakers. Yet as we noted earlier, there are only 12 languages that comprise 98% of all of the content on the internet today. Wikipedia is the most diverse website with pages in more than 300 languages.

Website translations can be used to create a multilingual digital marketing campaign that can put your products or services out in front of hundreds of millions of new viewers with virtually no competition at all, much less any direct competition in your particular niche.

Google supports around 100 languages at present, meaning that anybody searching in any of these languages will only get results in these languages. If you can avoid any of the 12 languages listed that make up more than one percent of the internet, and do some creative searching, you can easily determine just which languages have the largest numbers of users online and the least amount of content.

In short, you can eliminate more than 99% of ALL of your competition online.

Try a varied approach to your searches, using Google translate or even having someone from the potential target market work with you, translate a few of the prevalent keywords that have been translated and determine which markets offer less resistance in terms of direct competition, and more potential for profits.

Why Not Just Use Translation Plugins For My WordPress Website?

There are some incredibly good WordPress translation plugins available today and it can be tempting to rely on these translation apps to gain foreign language customers, but is this really the best solution? Sure it is easy, but how effective is it?

The vast majority of these translation plugins for WordPress have one major shortcoming, most notably in the area of search engine indexing. While it may be convenient for a client to merely click the button and translate the website into any language, how are they going to find you?

Do you really believe that people are going to search in the English language to find that German language website? How many native, foreign language speakers are searching social media platforms in English to get information in their own language?

Granted, many of these people may look for information in English because that is all that is available, but at the end of the day, they are more likely to shop and spend their money only on websites that are written in their own language.

Multilingual WordPress Sites

They are far more likely to purchase from websites that offer them the option of purchasing in their own currency. According to the Shopify, people want to view videos, even if only with closed captioning in their own language. They want to shop on websites written in their own languages, and they want to purchase items online in their own currency.

All of these are relevant to creating a successful international marketing campaign online and all of these are vastly improved through the use of website translation and localization.

How To Use Localization On Multilingual Websites

The localization strategies for website translations are likely one of the most challenging aspects of multilingual digital marketing campaigns. It may be that it is difficult, but it should also be viewed as a unique opportunity to make the target demographic may feel personally at home once they reach your website.

The website translation is of course the primary key to a successful international digital marketing campaign online. However, localization is the key to winning over the hearts and minds and increasing conversion rates.

Even in domestic marketing, advertising campaigns for big cities are going to be different than advertising for more rural areas. How much more does this hold true when you are actively marketing in different nations that have the same parent language, but different linguistic variations and evolution, different cultures and different ideologies?

Website Translation and Localization Website Template Design

The website template should be the same throughout the entire site. One of the simplest solutions is to learn how to build a WordPress Multisite and include different subdirectories or folders for the creation of the foreign language pages on your website.

In short, you are effectively creating entirely new and separate websites in each language, while at the same time retaining all of the major base files for the WordPress installation. Brand consistency is a very important part of the website design even when dealing with multilingual sites. Unfortunately, it also seems to be frequently overlooked.

All of the spots for advertising on the website translation should appear in the same locations and in the same proportions. The same is true for the locations for pictures within the website. Notice however, that this does not say that advertisements or pictures should remain the same. That subject will become very important in just a few more paragraphs.

One of the challenges of a full website translation service will be the variation in word counts, the length of the text and other variations that need to be considered. It may be that the translation services in one language will be longer than the document translations for another language.

While this should not have much direct impact on pictures other than captions, it is still important to adjust the relevant modules to ensure consistency of the overall size no matter the language translation. This is true for the body of text within the article and advertisements especially, though there may be other similar considerations depending on your individual website.

Also as part of the website translation, any “localized” speech in the original documents should be translated with localization strategies to include exchanging these expressions for other expressions that convey the same meaning in the translated languages.

This same principle can hold true for any localized references within the original marketing content. Is something cool as a clear mountain stream in a local mountain range? Could it be just as cool in a clear mountain stream in a different mountain range that was more well known among the foreign language audience?

If you move further down this same line of thinking, pictures are also a means by which you can provide a more localized reference for the new target audience. Imagine a travel website where the website owner is trying to convince people to book vacations using their website.

In the English language version of their website, the pictures from the Luau may work very well. What about for the Arabic translations or translating into Hebrew? How much of the potential audience has the webmaster risked offending reminding them that the roasting of unclean animals is a common venue for entertainment in their vacation destination?

While some may look at website translation and localization as a chore, the fact is that it is an incredible opportunity to focus your marketing efforts directly at numerous potential demographics, all with an equally personal and personable approach.

The sales and marketing professionals all have a keen understanding that it is important to establish a personal and meaningful relationship with the client in order to close the deal. You must deal with each individual both literally and figuratively on the local level.

You offer them the fact that you understand what their life is and what their problems are in a language that they understand and relate to personally. In this way, you can assure them that your solutions will fit them because it is tailored to their needs specifically.

Website translation and localization services offer you the ability to target literally tens of millions of largely unrepresented audiences, likely seeking the exact solutions that you have to offer. This produces another question in regards to generating traffic for the website.

How To Use Translation For Multi-Purposing Content

Multi-purposing website content is not by any means a new strategy. It is in fact very common even in English only websites and domestic marketing campaigns in virtually any language.

For those that are not aware of the practice; multi-purposing content is the use of the same basic information to create larger volumes of content in different media formats. A website article may provide the basics necessary to create a short podcast on the same subject, perhaps to include additional features that would unnecessarily lengthen a website article and reduce readership.

Infographics and other visual aids can be used to create slideshows and even videos for YouTube marketing campaigns online. Add in the use of transcription and translation services and you now have the means to create multiple marketing content resources in any number of different languages.

How To Use Translation And Transcription For Multilingual Video Marketing Content

There are enough high quality video editing software programs available that there is no reason that most people cannot begin a video marketing campaign to promote their products or services. Many video editing software programs offer the option to hard-code the subtitles into the video but this is definitely not preferential or ideal.

In fact, the practice of using subtitles for video campaigns may even be detrimental to multilingual marketing campaigns designed to increase the visibility of your website. Subtitles cannot be turned off and will interfere when foreign language users try to view the videos with closed captions, whether in the original language or when the video transcriptions are translated into additional languages and used to create srt files for the video.

There is a great deal of data available regarding how closed captioning can increase views, interaction and even the visibility of the video content. This works because unlike the subtitles, srt files for the closed caption are also fully indexed by the search engines. This fact in itself provides a great deal of assistance in increasing visibility not only for the video, but also for your multilingual website.

The indexed srt files now increase the placement of your video on the foreign language serp as a starter. Furthermore, the srt files are also indexed by the YouTube search engine, meaning that it will rank for more keywords, and if you have selected the language wisely, it will be more likely to get “recommended” anytime someone searches YouTube in any of the under-represented languages.

How to Use Translation for Multilingual Social Media Marketing

Facebook has a UI that actively supports 111 languages, but there are more than 140 languages commonly used on the Facebook platform. Twitter actively supports 35 languages, WhatsApp more than 40 and Google around 100 languages.

Items posted on social media platforms are also more likely to be shared among friends, especially for viewers who have precious little representation on the internet at all. The social media platforms are an important part of any online marketing campaign, and when used effectively, can greatly increase the visibility of a strong, accurately translated website that has ample volumes of native language content for the foreign website visitors.

Together, all of these options should give you the necessary tools to actively engage in a successful international marketing campaign online. Now you know why all those sites, despite the quality of the translation plugins, are hit and miss at best. A full website translation, implemented in part with well-planned localization strategies, should give you all the tools you need to get your product or service out in front of literally tens of millions of new viewers seeking the solutions that you have to offer.

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